The Chiefs' youth movement continued Monday, as they released outside linebacker Tamba Hali.
The release of Hali, 34, will clear approximately $7.7 million in much-needed cap room.
But in the release announcing the move, which was reported earlier in the day by The Star, the upper levels of Chiefs management paid homage to Hali, one of the franchise's longest-tenured players who ranks second with 89 1/2 career sacks, behind only Pro Football Hall of Famer Derrick Thomas.
“Tamba has been a tremendous ambassador for our organization, both on and off the playing field,” Chiefs chairman Clark Hunt said. “His incredible work ethic and passion for the game helped make him one of the most successful pass rushers in franchise history. Tamba will always be a part of the Chiefs family, and we sincerely appreciate his contributions to the Chiefs and the Kansas City community over the last 12 seasons.”
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Coach Andy Reid and general manager Brett Veach also chimed in to pay respect to the accomplishments of Hali, who is a lock to be in the Chiefs' Ring of Honor one day.
“I have a great deal of respect for Tamba and the amount of success he’s had as a member of this franchise,” Veach said. “He’s one of the greatest Chiefs pass rushers of all-time and has made a lasting impact on Chiefs Kingdom. We wish him the best as he continues his career.”
Reid even added he'd like to see Hali become a coach one day, the same language he used when the team recently announced the release of another franchise icon, Derrick Johnson.
“I’m grateful I had the privilege of working with Tamba and getting to know him on a personal level,” Reid said. “His love for the game is incredible, and he’s passed on that passion and his knowledge to a lot of our young players. I can see him being a coach one of these days. He’s built a tremendous legacy here in Kansas City, and we wish him the best as he moves forward.”
Hali, a first-round pick of the team in 2006, has battled balky knees the last few years. He last made the Pro Bowl in 2015, when he recorded 8 tackles and 6 1/2 sacks in 15 games. But after a 2016 season in which he recorded 34 tackles and 3 1/2 sacks, he recorded only a single tackle in five games last season.
He indicated he was strongly considering retirement last December. But Hali also maintained that he wanted to reach the 100-sack milestone and win a Super Bowl.
Hali is the latest Chiefs veteran to be moved this offseason, joining inside linebacker Derrick Johnson and quarterback Alex Smith.